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“New favorite in Durham!”
Review of Bleu Olive

Bleu Olive
Ranked #32 of 780 Restaurants in Durham
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $15 - $30
Cuisines: Greek, Mediterranean
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Dining options: Breakfast, Late Night, Private Dining, Reservations
Dining style: Casual Elegant
Cross street: Front Street
Transit: Yes
Description: A Mediterranean Bistro owned & operated by the Papanikas Family since 1994!
Reviewed August 27, 2014

My sister and I come to Duke Medical Center about every two months or so. We tried the Blue Olive during this visit and have already resolved to come back next visit. While there is clearly a Greek influence mostly evident in the appetizers, the entrees are not typical Greek fare (except moussaka). We started with fried calamai which was breaded just right (although I have to admit that I still prefer the Bluseafood bar and grille calamari with cornmeal breading). There was grilled calamari on the menu as well for those who prefer that. The real winner was the grilled goat cheese saganaki. I could have made a meal on that alone. For entree I had the paella which was excellent although my sister's Scottish salmon was even better. Ended the evening with the goat cheese and honey cheesecake- outstanding and highly recommended. The restaurant does try to use local suppliers when possible (such as their chicken and the goat cheese). All in all, an excellent meal.

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Thank Ghm123
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviews (275)
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181 - 185 of 275 reviews

Reviewed August 25, 2014

This is a jewel in north Durham, North Carolina. Superb cuisine, wonderful wines, incredible fish, lamb and Greek specialities. Wonderful atmosphere both inside and outside. Excellent service.

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Thank Holly_615
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 17, 2014

My spouse and I are exploring the restaurants in Durham and decided to try this one based on the reviews and type food offered. We made a reservation through Open Table and it was quick and simple. Open Table did ask if this was our first visit and it was. We were greeted nicely but seated by the restrooms. I don't think I would have done that to a new customer. We chose to ignore it. It wasn't a big issue but still noted.
Our waiter was nice and made suggestions. He did ask if we like calamari and suggested the sauteed calamari but my husband wanted the crispy fried calamari. It was not oily at all and perfectly cooked with two dipping sauces. We liked the preparation but there was an odd aftertaste. It may have been the breading or the oil.........not bad, just not as good as it could have been. While we waited for the calamari, bread and dipping oil was presented. The bread was just okay but the dipping oil was very good. We then had the fish specials. I had the blackened snapper on a gumbo and my husband had the grouper with sauteed red peppers, spinach, and fennel. Both were perfectly cooked and delicious! We were too full for dessert but will return and make plans for it.
The restaurant was full and it seemed like everyone was enjoying the food and atmosphere. Prices were in line and portions very good. We shall return..................

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Thank Linda B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 16, 2014

It was my birthday and my brother surprised me by coming to town. We had reservations at one of my favorite restaurants, Bleu Olive which we knew he would also enjoy. This was not our first trip, however it had been a while since we last dined there. You always wonder if a great restaurant will be great again, or if they have had a slight stumble or may have even fallen down somewhere. The Bleu Olive still is a wonderful, family run restaurant with excellent food and an overall outstanding dining experience that does not miss a beat.

Our waitress was attentive all night and she definitely knew the food menu, wine menu and the specials even though she had only been there three months. What does that tell you? She was well trained and was a seasoned professional all night long. When my brother was trying to choose between two glasses of red wine, no problem, she brought him a taste of each. When we asked about the chardonnays by the glass and told her what we liked, again her recommendation was spot on. She quickly brought us the wine and a basket of hot bread and olive oil for dipping.

I am a sucker for a Calamari appetizer $10 and always order it. It was excellent on my prior visit and it still is a home run. It was cooked to perfection with a flash fried dusted crisp on the outside and still moist and tender on the inside. It came with a spicy pepper marmalade and lemon aioli dipping sauces that more than pleased. We all enjoyed it, as it was a large enough serving to share.

I am also a sucker for Paella $23 and always order it wherever it is found. My brother also ordered, it while my wife ordered the Char Grilled Octopus $10 appetizer that is served with a pickled relish on arugula salad that was a generous serving and cooked to perfection. She also ordered the Roasted Beet Tartare $8 salad that was pure delight on a plate. It was served with a Chevre cheese, pistachios on a bed of arugula with a lemon sesame dressing that was divine.

Some of the other menu choices included the Blue Wedge heart of romaine salad $7 that is outstanding, the jumbo crab cake appetizer $13 that is a great choice with lump crabmeat, the traditional Moussaka $18, a House Smoked "Heritage" Pork Chop $23, an Organic Scottish Salmon $22.

It is very difficult to cook Paella correctly as the ingredients all have slightly different cooking times and the ingredient flavors need to balance each other without one being overpowering. There is a specific progression of when and how much to add the various ingredients. If you have ordered this before, then you know it can easily have overcooked calamari that is rubber, dry shrimp and overpowering chorizo sausage that is served with dry rice. This Paella was absolutely cooked to perfection with the coastal shrimp, chicken, Spanish chorizo, calamari and mussels all cooked perfectly served with a saffron risotto that was the best that I have ever had. My brother echoed this as it was melt in your mouth delicious.

Our waitress brought us some more bread and dipping oil between the appetizer and entrees and was there for a second glass of wine right when it was needed. She did not hover, but was always checking our table as she walked by and stopped in when needed. It was a well-orchestrated dining experience with a complimentary birthday dessert to go. There was more than enough of the entrée to take home and I enjoyed my Paella one more time for lunch the next day.

The bottom line:
Bleu Olive knows what they are doing, has a wide variety of menu items that are perfectly executed in a family restaurant atmosphere, has excellent wines by the glass and they just plain know how to thoroughly please their diners.


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2  Thank Gary C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 13, 2014 via mobile

Amazing food & staff!! Reasonably priced & well worth it! A must if you're looking for something refreshing & different! A++++

Thank Marshall C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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